This months’ Sofa Session focused on building your tribe for success. What did I actually mean by this?
To us, your tribe is the people who love and respect what you do. Now this might be close friends and family and equally its people who you don’t personally know but love your work. Over 6000 people turn up to our event The Bridge annually and whilst we know quite a few of the crowd, meet a few more on the day and connect via their social media posts, there are a whole host of them that remain anonymous to us. However, they are our tribe. There is one guy named Jarryd who came to The Bridge in 2014; year 2. He was compelled to write to me, the subject? Your Event made me proud to be a Londoner. The email blew me away and I see him annually at The Bridge; he’s my tribe. Do you know yours? It’s safe to say that I believe in the statement ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’.
So, how do you deal with this issue of tribe (or audience) if your events or ideas all seem a bit random? Do you cultivate numerous brands or social media personas? I would say no. Actually the reverse, I’d recommend you spend time with yourself and your ideas understanding what’s at the heart of them. Understanding your core values generally gives you an understanding of the work you create. For me, once I recognised my core values pretty much everything made sense. I understood where the personality and heart of my events and artistic concepts came from and the invisible thread that connected them all and made them made sense. From this point it does become easier because you find a language that feels appropriate for your work and you start to become consistent. In this moment you become more confident, are a better advocate for your work and can explain it, or sell it or breathe life into it more articulately. Now; your vibe is definitely attracting your tribe.
The grass isn’t always greener and if you’ve followed all of the above it would make no sense to directly copy how others sell their work, develop their following and do their thing. It wouldn’t would it? No! I think at this point it’s worth remembering that whilst ideas are common currency and there are probably multiple people around the world mulling over the same concept, no one will do it in exactly the same way. You are the sum of your life experiences and therefore your ideas are different. If you spend time planning how you talk about your work and testing different things you’ll notice that sometimes, whether verbally or on social media, people will respond immediately and positively. Capture that moment and analyse it. What did you say, what words did you use? Try using them again. Do they have the same impact? This rinse and repeat concept can really work for you. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you try and develop your tribe or following. If something works for you – a tone of voice, an actual description of a project, a special offer, a time of day for your posts – then repeat! The more time you spend understanding your work and how to talk about it, the more impact you will start to make, the quicker you will build your tribe and the more success you will achieve.
This concept of building your tribe helps in many ways. It does cut down the amount of posts you need to do. It helps you make a plan and do direct messaging that speaks to your tribe. You begin to have more confidence in your message and where to put it. Remember that whilst we do spend a lot of time on social media you shouldn’t forget traditional forms of tribe building – word of mouth is still massively important so talk to people, pick up the phone, and … talk to people. At Scanner’s Inc we talk to people pretty much wherever we go, it’s a great way of making random one in a million connections that are pretty much perfect for your business, but more often than not, it’s a great way of practicing talking about you and your creative business. It only takes one chance conversation in a lift (think a fabulous elevator pitch!) to transform everything. But in order for that conversation to be fruitful you have to be practiced at talking you.
As you start to understand the characteristics of your tribe, and what they respond to, you will think of other places to find them. Online there is so much you can do to be visible from #tags that make you searchable, to videos or live film experiences that rank you higher, to special offers that get you noticed. I like the expression ‘fish where the fishes are’ because it reminds me daily to think before I speak/type! My mum used to say that to me when I was little, ‘Kate; think before you open your mouth’. I still get over excited about things I’m passionate about now, so this advise still holds true. If I fish where my fishes are, it means that I am conscious about how, when and what I post. It also means that its more likely that I am speaking directly to my tribe rather than a generic piece of marketing copy about how great I am or my work is.
There are lots of tools out there and about a million and one free webinars that will give you great advise. Do some research and start sampling. Essentially they are usually giving the same great advice … know you, know your product and know your tribe or audience. When you know all that, the offer you give should be consistent and generally start with a freebie to start the conversation. We truly recommend you start looking into this; there will be a school of thought or an entrepreneur who speaks to you … guess what? You’ll be a part of their tribe!
Sofa Sessions take aways this month …
- Know you, your values and what your work represents;
- Understand your current tribe;
- Know your next steps – what’s your big picture? This helps you understand what you are building your tribe for!!
- Use language that speaks to your tribe – we’ve learnt with Sofa Sessions some words work better than others and get more traction with our tribe;
- Be consistent in the regularity of your communication and your message style;
- Understanding your tribe really helps write a successful arts fundraising application – knowing your tribe, how to reach them & how to grow it reduces the risk and helps organisations invest in you!
- Fish where the fishes are and your message will hit home!
Overall, stay emotionally and inspirationally connected to your vision and grow a tribe that cares, shares your message and turns up.
Peace and love, Kate